Ukrainian Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights Valeriia
Lutkovska has called for lawmakers to add LGBT status to laws in the
country’s criminal code which see greater responsibility placed on
perpetrators who commit crimes motivated by intolerance.
Lutkovska made the call in an annual report on the state of human and
civil rights and freedoms in Ukraine published on the Commissioner&# 39;s
Currently the Criminal Code of Ukraine contains a number of articles
which increase responsibility on perpetrators if the crime is
committed ‘under motives of racial, national, or religious
intolerance’ – in particular, Article 126 covering ‘beatings and
torture,’ Article 127 covering ‘Torture,’ and Article 129 which covers
‘threats with murder.’
Currently these articles do not take into account anti-LGBT motives as
an aggravating factor.
Lutkovska made the proposal in her annual report, writing ‘According
to the monitoring of the Commissioner for Human Rights, cases of hate
crimes and hate speech directed against the … LGBT community remain
commonplace [in Ukraine] adding, ‘Recently, cases of openly
impertinent attacks and physical violence against members of sexual
minorities, particularly LGBT activists, have become more frequent.’
Lutkovska singled out last year’s beatings of Ukrainian LGBT activists
Svyatoslav Sheremet from the Gay Forum of Ukraine and Taras
Karasiichuk – a member of the organizing committee for Kiev Pride.
‘Amnesty International has documented several brutal attacks against
LGBT people … In some cases, such attacks have resulted in death,’
their report read.
Lutkovska also made known her concerns about attempts to ban public
discussion of LGBT issues, writing that she ‘could not but draw
attention to a number of legislative proposals to ban “propaganda of
Lutkovska wrote that the adoption of such laws in Ukraine ‘could lead
to excessive restriction of rights contrary to Article 22 of the
Constitution,’ and ‘restrictions on freedom of speech should not be
realized in a discriminatory manner, as this would be contrary to
Article 24 of the Constitution.’
The final recommendation of the Commissioner to the Parliament was ‘to
remove these and similar laws from consideration.’
The annual report of the Commissioner for Human Rights was presented
at a meeting of the Ukrainian Parliament on June 5.
Lutkovska’s report and suggestions were welcomed by Ukrainian LGBT activists.
‘The present report of Ombudsman Lutkovska differs revolutionarily
from the previous reports of Ombudsman Karpachova,’ Gay Forum of
Ukraine leader Svyatoslav Sheremet said.
‘Then we were on a blacklist, and now the new Ombudsman has looked at
our problems in human terms.’
‘The criminal law of our country should be reformed. Lutkovska did
well – she offered to add also sexual orientation, skin color, and
disability to the grounds of racial, national or religious
intolerance. We should make sure that the laws reflect real life.’
Sheremet is also running a project entitled ‘Empowering civil society
to combat discrimination against LGBTI people in Ukraine.’
PRIDE Solidarity activist Clare Dimyon MBE who has been campaigning to
improve LGBT rights in the former Soviet Union said the Commissioner’ s
report was groundbreaking for a former Soviet state.
‘This is a significant breakthrough for LGBT people in Ukraine and
other states of the former Soviet Union,’ Dimyon wrote.
‘I shall be writing to Ms Lutkovska to welcome her recommendations and
thank her for her intervention, which I know will come as a great
relief to LGBT people I have met in Ukraine. That includes one young
man who called me in the immediate aftermath of a homophobic attack
while I was in Ukraine last year for the Euro2012 Football
Ukraine’s capital Kiev held its first pride march in May despite an
official ban on the event
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